A group of concerned citizens will hold a demonstration to demand action by the U.S. Department of Defense in the ongoing contamination of the City of Newburgh drinking watershed. The public rally takes place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 15, across from Moroney’s Cycle on Route 300.
“I want the Department of Defense to take notice that the residents of the Hudson Valley are unanimous in their opposition to the continued discharge of PFOS into our streams and river,” said City of Newburgh Ward 2 Councilwoman Genie Abrams.
Abrams is among a group of residents and activists who will join organizations including Riverkeeper, Scenic Hudson and the Quassaick Creek Watershed Alliance to demonstrate at the event. New York State Assemblyman Frank Skartados and Riverkeeper’s Water Quality Program Director Dan Shapley are among the scheduled speakers.
The event is open to the public and participants are welcome, Abrams said. The rally is being held next to several large tanks that are part of a carbon filtration system installed to remove perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) from Washington Lake, the city’s main source of drinking water.
State tests show the chemical contaminated the city’s drinking water supply after flowing into the lake from Silver Stream. The source of the contamination was traced back to the nearby Stewart Air National Guard Base. Owned by the DoD, the base was the site of two major releases of PFOS-containing fire foam concentrate in 1990.
The DoD has so far taken no action to abate PFOS hot spots on and near the air base, despite repeated calls by residents, local, state and U.S. officials to stop the PFOS flowing into Silver Stream. The stream flows to Washington Lake and the Moodna Creek, which leads to the Hudson River.
Dozens of private wells have been contaminated along with the city’s drinking water. The city was forced to switch to using water from the Catskill Aqueduct when the contamination was revealed in May last year. The city is scheduled to switch back to Washington Lake water in the fall.
Rallygoers are asked to park in vacant lots on the west side of Route 300. Attendees are asked not to park at Moroney’s or the NY Granite Corp., which are busy on Saturday.
For more information, contact Genie Abrams at 845-764-0635 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By SHANTAL RILEY